St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, UK

About Us

Hi I’m Lisa. Welcome to Islandeering I’m an islandeer, author and marine conservationist and passionate about sharing what I have learnt from my travels around the islands of the British Isles to help you find an adventure. I started the project 12 years ago after I had one of those light bulb moments and realised the pure magic that islands held for me. After meeting so many people on their island travels who shared my passion and told me that I must share my experiences so that others could do the same I set up Islandeering.com, where we are passionate about promoting responsible travel to our great British islands.
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Join our Islandeering community

We have a lot of fun here, as we continuously find new islands and meet plenty of great folks along the way. Join our community to get new routes and adventures, latest blogs and news by using the email box below. Tune in also to our Facebook and Instagram pages to see where we are going next.
High Point: Telegraph, 51 metres
Population: 1800
Size: 658 ha
Wild Factor: 7 out of 10

Overview of St Mary’s The largest island of the Scilly archipelago and home to 1,800 Scillonians this is the beating heart of Scilly and the gateway to the other islands. Its wonderful beaches, local food, charming lanes, music and culture are a celebration of what these enchanted isles are all about. Hugh Town is the main centre with its cluster of shops, banks, post office, pubs, restaurants and cafes as well as the only supermarket on the archipelago. It has three lovely beaches and The Quay, where the daily Scillonian III arrives from Penzance and the inter-island ferries depart. The impressive fortification of The Garrison dominates the south-west peninsula, whilst the island’s north coast is a string of deserted sandy beaches, incredible ancient sites and stunning seascapes. There are also 5 small islands off St Mary’s that can be accessed at low tide. The island has every type of accommodation to suit a range of budgets from coastal self-catering cottages, luxury hotels and inns to glamping and camping. Sampling St Mary’s delicious food is an island highlight.

 Type of island: Inhabited

Location: Isle of Scilly

How to get to the Isles of Scilly travel on the Scillonian III from Penzance; Skybus flights from Lands End, Newquay and Exeter airports. Baggage transfers are easily arranged from the ferry to your accommodation; here is a minibus service from the airport

Getting around St Mary’s, Scilly: Getting around the island is a laid back affair with plenty of paths, including the beautiful coastal path, and quiet lanes to cycle (https://www.stmarysbikehire.co.uk ) or electric golf cart (http://www.scillycart.co ). There are taxis on the island and a community bus service that circles the island several times a day. Ferries run by the St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association (https://www.scillyboating.co.uk) to the off-islands generally depart from The Quay at 10.15 am and 2.00pm as a minimum (Easter to end October), with additional departures at busier times and wildlife and circular island tours on offer. Check the blackboard at The Quay or St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association’s Facebook Page for the changing daily ferry times.

Best time to go to the Isles of Scilly You can travel to the Isle of Scilly anytime of the year. Most visitors go between May to September, but Easter and October half terms can also be great often with good weather and fewer visitors. Spring time in Scilly is the best time to see the scented narcissi. The best time for birdwatching on Scilly is during the spring and autumn, with the large number of passing migrants

Getting around St Mary’s there are over 50 km of public footpaths on the island, and km’s of quiet lanes for cycling. There are a few taxi companies including Toot’s Taxis

Is St Mary’s dog friendly yes, except the main Hugh Town beaches of Town Beach, Porth Cressa and Port Mellon which have restrictions April to October. There is also plenty of dog-friendly accommodation throughout St Mary’s and Scilly.

Food and drink on St Mary’s Hugh Town has several pubs, cafes and restaurants with others scattered throughout the island. There is a Co-op in town, the only supermarket on the archipelago.

Accommodation on St Mary’s there is a wide range of pub accommodation, self-catering and B&B’s; a luxury hotel; and a campsite

Contacts: Visit Isles of Scilly https://www.visitislesofscilly.com/about/practical-info/tourist-information-centre ; info@visitislesofscilly.com; +44 (0)1720 620600

Best things to do on St Mary’s, Scilly: 

Nearby islands: whilst you are there, why not explore:

St Martin’s

St Agnes

Gugh

Bryher

Tresco

Samson

Nornour

St Helen’s

Teän

Annet

Watch a gig race

Gig racing is Scilly's national sport

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Walk The Garrison St Mary's

One of the most popular walks in St Mary's

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Flowers of St Mary's

Pick up a Scilly speciality with a scent of heaven

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Islets off St Mary's

Walk St mary's coastal path and cross to the tidal islands off St Mary's

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Scilly Swim challenges and inter-island swims

Wild swimming at its more extreme, take on a challenge

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Explore ancient and historic sites

Explore prehistoric villages and Elizabethan forts

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Wild swimming St Mary's

Find out our fave wild swim spots

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Sea kayaking St Mary's

Find an amazing sea kayak island adventure

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Coasteering on St Mary's

An epic island adventure

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Whale and dolphin spotting from St Mary's

Whales and dolphins are regularly spotted from the Scillonian III

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St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, UK

About Us

Hi I’m Lisa. Welcome to Islandeering I’m an islandeer, author and marine conservationist and passionate about sharing what I have learnt from my travels around the islands of the British Isles to help you find an adventure. I started the project 12 years ago after I had one of those light bulb moments and realised the pure magic that islands held for me. After meeting so many people on their island travels who shared my passion and told me that I must share my experiences so that others could do the same I set up Islandeering.com, where we are passionate about promoting responsible travel to our great British islands.
Learn More

Join our Islandeering community

We have a lot of fun here, as we continuously find new islands and meet plenty of great folks along the way. Join our community to get new routes and adventures, latest blogs and news by using the email box below. Tune in also to our Facebook and Instagram pages to see where we are going next.
Distance: 16 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 8 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Scilly Isles
  • Size: 237 hectares
  • Terrain: Easy to follow coastal path; mixed grass, sand, rock
  • Access: Scillonian III; plane
  • Height gain: 497 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 101
  • Starting point: Hugh Town Quay
  • Accommodation/food:

    Accommodation on St Mary’s – there is plenty in Hugh Town. Outside of Hugh Town, close to the coastal path,  refreshments can be found at Juliet’s Garden, Porthloo; Old Town; Porth Cressa Beach; and near Pelistry Bay

  • Island Summary:

    The circular walk around the coast of St Mary’s, the first port of call for any visitor to Scilly, is the longest route in the Isles of Scilly. It is a great way to explore the fortifications, ancient village and burial site, fantastic beaches, wonderful granite headlands, heath and woodland of this highly varied island. There are also plenty of swims and pitstops on the way, as well as five further islands that can be accessed at low tide.

     

  • Look out for:
    • Dolphins surfing the bow wave of the Scillion en-route
    • Halangay Down ancient village
    • Spend more time exploring Harry’s Walls and the Garrison Walls
  • Route description:

    The circular walk on the coast path around St Mary’s starts at the quay in Hugh Town the route passes the outer walls of the Garrison to reach Porth Cressa and then the batteries and cairns around Peninnis Head. Dropping into Old Town provides an opportunity to see Harold Wilson’s grave at the church and to stock up with refreshments at the café. Passing the end of the airport’s runway on Salakee Down is exhilarating, particularly with an impending arrival indicated by a siren. Rounding the Porth Hellick Bay, with its small fishing boats, the chambered cairns can be viewed using a small diversion from the path. Further on, if the tide is low, Toll Island can be accessed if time permits. The Innisidgen cairns are well worth an exploration before heading into the trees of Helvear Down. After passing Bar Point the views of Tresco open up and as you approach the bobbing boats in Hugh Town’s harbour there are opportunities to explore two further islands, Taylor’s Island and Newford Island. Download our route and GPS (from the left hand bar)

  • Getting there:

    Getting to the Isles of Scilly. Scillonian III from Penzance; Skybus flights from Lands End, Newquay and Exeter airports

Download file for GPS

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